There is a big debate going on in the country right now concerning guns and butter. It isn't a question of how much we should spend on guns, but what we should buy with the money.
Some people want to give it all to the U.S. Navy. Others want to put it into underground missile systems. Still other men of good will think we should spend it on new bombers. And there are those who believe we have to beef up our airborne strike forces.
Once these problems are resolved, Congress will have to deal with the question of butter.
A Senate Subcommittee on Strategic Buttery has been holding hearings on the subject, and the testimony so far has painted a grim picture about this nation's ability to stay ahead of the Soviets.
A deputy secretary, in charge of dairy intellience, told the committee in closed session, "At the moment, this country has enough butter to spread over every piece of toast in the world. But we know that the Russians are developing their own spread, which could make our butter supplies obsolete."
A senator asked, "Are we talking about the salted or unsalted variety?"
"Salted butter, sir. Since the SALT talks broke off, the Kremlin has been putting all of it in their butter."
"But," another senator said, "we know that the Russians are spending half their gross national product on guns, while we're spending 90 percent of ours on butter. How can they ever expect to attain parity?"
"Quantitatively speaking, that's correct, but our intelligence people report that the Russians are putting a higher butterfat content into their product so it will taste creamier. Their butter has more of a bang to it, although there is less to go around. Our concers is that if they up their production, they will be able to smear the United States."
"Why can't we put a higher butterfat content in ours?"
"It's a question of money. We just don't have the funds to give America the butter capability we need. The more we spend on guns the less we can spend on butter."
"Are you saying this country can't have guns and butter at the same time?"
"Butter now costs $2.15 a pound. Many people can no longer afford it, and are resorting to cheaper speads. but even they aren't cheap any more, so a lot of Americans are doing without."
"Do you mean to tell us we can't even afford guns and margarine?"
"We're reaching that stage, sir. Every time Congress authorizes another fighter plane, someone in America winds up putting chicken fat on his bread."
"This is a terrible situation," a senator fumed. "Why weren't we informed of this before?"
"The butter people have been trying to tell you this for some time, but every Congress has churned a deaf ear to their warnings. No one wanted to make a choice between guns and butter, and now we don't seem to have either."
"What do you suggest we do about it?" a senator asked.
"If you ask people which they would prefer, guns or butter, most of them will tell their politicians, guns. But in their hearts, the electorate really wants butter. It's very hard to scrammble eggs with a hand grenade."
"Well, it looks like we're going to have to bring the price of butter down so people can afford the American dream again."
"It would be easier if you could bring down the price of an aircraft carrier."
"How can we do that?"
"By taking the butterfat out of the military industrial complex."